How online tutoring can support you and your pupils with the ongoing impact of the pandemic
Children and young people have experienced significant disruption to their education over recent years, with teachers still reporting learning gaps two years on. Now with teacher strikes impacting classroom learning, Head of Assessment Services, Kristina Altoft explains how online tutoring can be an extremely successful aid.
While a lot of people talk of the pandemic being “behind us”, the reality in education is that many teachers are still picking up the pieces for a proportion of their students. Last year, a significant piece of UK-wide research revealed 82% of primary teachers and 67% of secondary teachers were still experiencing learning loss and “catch-up” requirements, two years after returning from the first lockdown.1
We know that when done well, online tutoring can and is making a difference with recent research demonstrating a 63% increase in pre- and post-tutoring sessions across all key stages and main subjects. In this piece, we look at some of the biggest benefits to you and your pupils.
Addressing the gaps
Much has been written about the Covid learning gap with headlines in the summer of 2021 warning of a “lockdown illiteracy surge” after the then-Education Recovery Commissioner suggested 30,000 more children would be starting secondary school without the reading skills needed to access the secondary curriculum.2 This came in addition to the usual 200,000 who leave primary school with below expected levels of reading. 18 months later, sustained support is still needed to help disadvantaged pupils catch up.
Whether learning gaps are Covid related, resulting from SEND support requirements or for other reasons, tutoring offers schools the opportunity to give targeted lessons to selected pupils, with sessions they can take either at school or with supported devices at home.
Deputy Headteacher Adele Key books Pearson Tutors to provide targeted support based on the individual needs that have been identified:
We started with twelve Year 6s, with six doing English and six maths. We chose these children based on our end of autumn term NFER data. They were all still working at the very beginning of Year 6 expectations, and we felt that these children needed a boost in their confidence that would help them with attainment as well.
We get a very strong sense that the tuition is having a big impact on the children. They see the links between classroom learning and their tuition sessions and they tell us regularly that the tuition sessions are helping their learning click into place in class.
Crucial support in all subjects
Last year alone, we saw fantastic progress in maths (76%) and English (45%) however, success doesn’t stop at the core subjects. Across all subjects and key stages, on average, Pearson Tutoring students increased their scores by almost two-thirds (63%).3
Distanced learning opportunities
For pupils who can’t easily attend school, the option of online tutoring provides an essential connection that links them back to classwork. Not only is it flexible in terms of scheduling – with teachers able to pick tutors who fit best with pupil timetables – it can also take place anywhere with an internet connection.
A key benefit of Pearson’s Tutoring Bramble platform is the ability for pupils to access previous sessions and watch again. With every session fully recorded and searchable – they make for brilliant revision resources for individuals, in their own time.
Providing a much-needed confidence boost
Pearson tutors help students not only academically but by providing students with a much-needed confidence boost.
Our tutors work with students aged 7-16 with research revealing almost three quarters (73%) have improved in confidence, 77% in understanding and 86% in engagement!
Easing teacher workload
As well as supporting pupil progress and confidence levels, tutoring supports classroom teachers and SLT too, by easing the general workload.
47% of headteachers see teacher and school leader workload as one of the top three challenges facing them between now and 2024. As such, managing teacher stress is an essential consideration for UK schools.4
By encouraging teachers to work in harmony with tutors, collaborating with easy updates and feedback processes, tutoring gives schools a way to supercharge students’ learning for those who need it most, while allowing staff to redirect their energy and resources back into other areas.
Don’t just take our word for it. We asked students too!
Year on year, students and parents perceive the main benefits on online tutoring to be providing flexible lesson schedules, a more relaxed and focused atmosphere, and searchable lesson recordings. Students also reported that they felt more content was covered in their online tutoring sessions than in-person tutoring alternatives.
Whatever the age and whatever the stage, online tutoring is proving to be effective, and is fast becoming a resource valued by students, parents, and teachers alike. Since 2020, our qualified teachers have helped thousands of students stay on track with their learning, addressing key gaps in their knowledge, preparing them for national assessments, and significantly improving their outcomes so children and young people are ready for the future.
To find out more, seek support for your school, and speak with one our team, visit www.pearson.com/uk/educators/schools/pearson-tutoring-programme.html
 Results from a survey of almost 7,000 educators, polled in April 2022. Click here to read the Pearson School Report
 See “Boris Johnson fears lockdown illiteracy surge” The Times, April 2021
 See The Impact of Small Group Online Tutoring, Pearson and Bramble
 From the Pearson School Report, as above